Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mechanical Advantage: Party Time.

Up above, you can see the flyer for the season opener tomorrow night. Hope those of you in town can make it.

Here are some pics of the finished pieces made by the artists involved in the collaborative creative effort i've spoke of earlier on this site. click on any of the images for a larger view:

matt pulford:

Matt Pulford
The Dutch
Wood, Found Objects, Canvas, Latex House Paint, Fan

Roughly half of the work you see in this show is a collaborative
effort between either three or four artists, depending on which piece you are viewing. Although each of us did our own physical labor required to build the piece(s) that bear our singular names on their title cards, the actual brainstorming and concept development behind the works of kinetic art was a group effort that spanned a time of only about one month. So… what are you seeing in my jalopy-of-an-art-machine, “The Dutch”? You're seeing something completely outside of my normal mode of making art — something foreign to me in terms of my aesthetic and usual artistic media, but… also an art object that is the end result of a process that was ridiculously fun to be a part of. The Dutch… part windmill, part noise- (music?) maker, part painting-dipper.

bill campbell:

Bill Campbell
Musical Instrument
PVC, wood, rubber, felt

As a musician and composer I take advantage of simple machines almost every day in the pistons, valves, triggers, springs, bridges, and keys in so many instruments. The mechanism of the piano is a complex trigger that allows me to strike so many strings and set them in motion as a play. It is a beautiful thing, and a wonder to behold. But the mechanisms are not the end: it is how I use them and apply their benefits that makes them useful.

terry rathje:

Terry Rathje
Six Shi Shi Odoshi
Copper pipe assemblage, water, water pump

Half my time is spent taking things apart and learning about the world; the other half is spent putting things together and learning about myself. My work is roughly equal parts of looking outwardly at the world for ideas and inspiration, and then inwardly to see how I work. Ancient or obsolete ideas couple with new perspectives and make for interesting new directions, especially when the leverage of technology is involved. Something that functions has a more difficult purpose and birthing process than something that merely exists in space, because it has to take into account the range of human behavior, personal differences, idiosyncrasies, propensities, emotion, and the fact that it has to serve people (which is no small undertaking).

steve banks:

Steve Banks
The Machine-Scape Tapestry
Assemblages involving wood, garage door opener, rope, rock, plastic, drawing utensils, fans, etcetera

It is a nearly inescapable fact that we are surrounded by a tapestry of machine-produced sights and sounds. From chugging motors, to the insistent braying of ‘personalized’ cell phone rings, to soulless pre-fabricated mini-mart architecture carved into the verdant landscape, the ubiquity of machines goes nearly without scrutiny. Machines have made our lives longer, fuller and undeniably easier, but often times at the expense of whimsy, play and enthusiastic impracticality. These machines are our humble attempt to temporarily re-weave the machine-scape tapestry.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Two Art Shows

(i usually do longer, more decently written "reviews" of local art shows, but i'm in a hurry tonight)

...saw two shows tonight - Jeff Tady at Saint Ambrose University's Morrisey Gallery, and Michael Johnson at Saint Ambrose University's Catich Gallery. it's funny that as someone who normally champions an acceptance of raw-er, less traditional art over more traditional artistic endeavor, I enjoyed the latter show much more than the former.

Jeff had some collages of a lot of 60s and 70s popular culture references in print media such as comics and newspapers, intermixed with a bunch of space imagery that even culled from recent missions such as the recent trek to Saturn's moons. It really wasn't my thing at all - lots of extreme repetition; no piece stood out as different in any way to me, and I got bored rather quickly. if anyone out there sees the show and has a different, more positive experience, please post your thoughts to give some balance. unfortunately, i can't find any images to share.

Michael had a lot of large photographs that actually knocked my socks off. i'm not normally a fan of straight photography, but i think the artist's subject matter (person-less landscapes, largely of the Midwest and the Southwest) and approach (old-school 5x7 straight shooting w/ not much, if any at all, darkroom reworking) won me over. a very handsome show. give it a look-see if you get a chance.

here's an image sample for you:

Windmill and Willow, IL, 2007

All Photography ©
Copyright Michael Johnson Photography
1974 -- 2008

Bloom Plantation, SC, 2001

All Photography ©
Copyright Michael Johnson Photography
1974 -- 2008

there you have it.

here's some fugazi.

enjoy your weekend.

you wanted everything
you needed everything

Monday, September 8, 2008

MK Ultra, Chicago Hardcore

fifteen years ago i was in a hardcore band that wasn't very good, but that didn't affect us having shows with some decent bands from all over the country. one of my favorite hardcore/punk/whatever bands we opened up for wasn't from terribly far away - chicago - and i thought i'd post some new videos of theirs i found on youtube.

MK Ultra did the angry, loud, distorted, screaming, fast, political thing pretty damn well. and, as i sit back and think about their shows, i realize jeff jelen was one of my favorite guitarists to watch. i have only a few friends who enjoy this type of thing, but to us it typifies what we like most out of the punk music we listen to - it's extremely angrily emotive. it never tried to be flashy or had any group-chant choruses; it was more of a visceral purging of sorts — a "jesus christ the world is a mess and i can't effing stand it" vomiting of emotion. songs about self-reflection in one's early/mid twenties, songs about the two-facedness of some of our american policies (versus our stated ideals), even personal songs about an alcoholic parent. i'm sounding like a complete moron trying to explain why i love these guys so much, so i'll stop and post the vids, with lyrics after the link.

MK Ultra (chicago)
at the More Than Music festival somewhere in Ohio, 1998

the fucking student council is climbing the corporate ladder
and the former cheerleading captain is squeezing out kids

but i'm a failure?
and i'm a fuckup?
i refuse to compromise
i won't succumb to normal life

how do you define success? is it a house-wife and kids?
life is more than a paycheck and a clean credit check

i'm a failure
and i'm a fuckup
maybe i am still a little lost
it just seems like it's all passed.. passed me by

fuck your cookie cutter existance
i may never live up to my potential
but i can always say i stood by my convictions
can you say the same?

this video starts with the same song i just posted above, but the two songs afterwards were noteworthy to me.

at Fireside Bowl, chicago, probably 1996 or 97 (i honestly may have been at this show... can't remember)

it's just another lie
shoved down your fucking throat
white tan models, tan white teeth,
this is freedom? i want to scream 'Yeeagghh!!!'
you'll never be welcome here
unless you're addicted to the american dream
i want to scream 'Yeeagghh!!!'

Lleno de gusto!

under... control... you'll never pull yourself up your
mind... numbed... you'll never see it coming
body... broken... you'll never even fight it with your
spirit... shackled... you'll never raise your voice in protest

and you'll never quit until your' fucking dead.


once upon a time the irish were the dogs
and so much slag for the melting pot
'their eyes leap with cruelty insanity and crime' ***
alas, the country's memory is cut short
and second and third generations
swallow the same nativist bile that killed their ancestors

i'm sick of this 'wall off the country' shit.
unless you're a native american you're a hypocrite.
a homogenized culture of stolen names
and someone convenient to take the blame.

*** attorney general of the united states A Mitchell Palmer, 1919.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

ridiculous wind-blown nonsense machine at Bucktown Arts Raw Space

well folks, here it is:

the show is not quite open, so Terry and Steve do not have their pieces fully installed yet. I will shoot & upload more video when they are finished.